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5E Is Nature Cleric's Dampen Elements ability way overpowered?

coolAlias

Explorer
EDIT: No, it's not overpowered in typical play due to being very situational. Thanks everyone!

Hey all,

Just white-room theory-crafting here - I've never actually played nor run a game for a Nature Cleric.

That said, looking at the 6th level cleric domain abilities, Dampen Elements sticks out as being not only the only ability with truly unlimited uses, but also one that seems immensely beneficial.

Dampen Elements
Starting at 6th level, when you or a creature within 30 feet of you takes acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage, you can use your reaction to grant resistance to the creature against that instance of the damage.

For comparison:

Knowledge: Basically Detect Thoughts + Suggestion; uses Channel Divinity

Life: Gain some life when you heal others; limited by the number of healing spells you can cast in a day and only benefits you if you're already hurt

Light: Solid improvement to Warding Flare; usable Wisdom modifier per long rest

Tempest: No limit, but you have to deal lightning damage which only happens if you get hit and use Wrath of the Storm (Wisdom modifier per long rest) OR cast Call Lightning, the ONLY spell on your spell list capable of inflicting lightning damage. Other methods include having a high-level paladin cast Elemental Weapon or, if your DM is super nice, you might find a lightning-based magic weapon. All of that just to knock some dude back 10 feet. Not impressed.

Trickery: Uses Channel Divinity to turn invisible for one round; this is okay, but the duration seems like it should be up to 1 minute instead

War: Grant another creature +10 to hit; uses Channel Divinity.

Now, not every fight involves damage of those types, but at higher levels elemental damage becomes more and more common, and resistance is very potent.

Any thoughts on why they didn't limit the Nature Domain's 6th level ability to Wis modifier / long rest (which is what I would lean toward if I were changing it) or require Channel Divinity uses?
 
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Zardnaar

Explorer
It's situational you don't tend to take elemental damage that often. Flare can be used in any combat, healing is also very common situation.

Nature cleric is really good for other reasons as well.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
It's situational you don't tend to take elemental damage that often.
Hm... I suppose they probably do have actual data from all the play-tests that corroborates their decision.

While it seems to me like the ability would be a game changer, perhaps in actual play it isn't as overpowered as it appears.
 

Dausuul

Legend
It is limited; it's just that the limit is set by how often you get hit with elemental damage, rather than a straight "X times per Y rest."
 

coolAlias

Explorer
It is limited; it's just that the limit is set by how often you get hit with elemental damage, rather than a straight "X times per Y rest."
Technically correct, which is the only kind of correct.

That said, it doesn't have to be the nature cleric taking damage - they can grant resistance to any creature they can see within 30 feet.

So in an all-out elemental war where the nature cleric wasn't themselves taking damage but were always in a position to provide this benefit to others, they could theoretically do it once every six seconds 24 hours a day until exhaustion overtook them, which is 14,400 times per day.

Granted such a scenario is never going to happen, but that's what I mean when I say 'unlimited.'

I did preface my post with "white-room theory-crafting" after all. ;)
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
Have you seen a Nature Cleric at 6th+ in play? Did Dampen Elements get used much if at all? What did the player(s) think of the ability?
Yes and it got used occasionally.

The players loved it, I think there was a green paladin as well so between that and the absorb elements spells shut down elemental magic.

We've min maxed most of the clerics and nature and light are the best, life if you care about healing. Tempest and War are decent. Assuming default stats with rolled stats things change.
 

coolAlias

Explorer
Yes and it got used occasionally.

The players loved it, I think there was a green paladin as well so between that and the absorb elements spells shut down elemental magic.

We've min maxed most of the clerics and nature and light are the best, life if you care about healing. Tempest and War are decent. Assuming default stats with rolled stats things change.
Always good to hear some actual gameplay - thank you.

Sounds like they got plenty of chances to use the ability, which kind of brings me back to my question, but I suppose it was deemed much less impactful than the others... I just don't see that being the case. How is reducing elemental damage on a single target by 50% essentially at will balanced against using Channel Divinity to turn invisible for 1 round to do what, get advantage on a single attack roll? Or Wis / day impose disadvantage on a single attack roll?

I guess they decided that since there's no guarantee you'll get at least 3-5 chances to use it each day, you just get to save up all your uses and go all out when you visit the City of Brass? I can see the logic in that, though I don't necessarily agree with it.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
Always good to hear some actual gameplay - thank you.

Sounds like they got plenty of chances to use the ability, which kind of brings me back to my question, but I suppose it was deemed much less impactful than the others... I just don't see that being the case. How is reducing elemental damage on a single target by 50% essentially at will balanced against using Channel Divinity to turn invisible for 1 round to do what, get advantage on a single attack roll? Or Wis / day impose disadvantage on a single attack roll?

I guess they decided that since there's no guarantee you'll get at least 3-5 chances to use it each day, you just get to save up all your uses and go all out when you visit the City of Brass? I can see the logic in that, though I don't necessarily agree with it.
It's because you have the choice of when to use it. And you can use it 3 to 6 times per long rest assuming you have the recommended shirt rest.

Nature cleric ability might not see any use at all for entire levels. Invisibility has non combat uses, defensive uses, offensive uses, and grants advantage to stealth.

Nature cleric ability is more powerful but a lot more limited. It's defensive and situational.
 

Zardnaar

Explorer
Yeah it's hard to evaluate. It's really good when it fired, completely useless otherwise.

YMMV of course.
 

Paul Farquhar

Adventurer
I had Absorb Elements on my Eldritch Knight. You know how many times I got to use it? Zero.

Elemental damage isn't all that common. Elemental resistance is common and easy to come by. Half the party are probably resistant to something.

If you want to "White Room" it, try comparing it to a Rogue's Uncanny Dodge.
 

Seramus

Explorer
As long as the story has a reasonable chance for elemental damage to happen, it should happen more often just because you are playing a Nature Cleric (the same way a Ranger should encounter her Favored Enemy more often than a party without Rangers). Unless you are in AL and/or running modules without modification for whatever reason.
 

S'mon

Hero
It's not that good, AoEs often hit multiple PCs, so you only help one. And Resistance items & magic are pretty plentiful already.
 

Seramus

Explorer
I would not, under any circumstances, rewrite an adventure just to squeeze in more elemental damage because someone happened to be playing a nature cleric.
When players choose their characters, they are often asking you to feature certain things in the game. For example, when someone makes a trap focused rogue they are asking for some badass scenes where they disable traps. That doesn’t mean every place has to have traps, but it’s directly telling you, the DM, “Please sir, I would like to beat traps.”

You can always use session zero to set up expectations, like “I run low combat, high politic games” or whatever to encourage/discourage choices of course.
 

mortwatcher

Explorer
white-rooming single domain ability versus other domain abilities at only one level is quite silly
some domains get better abilities at start, some at higher levels
also some domains get better spells than others
the nature cleric ability is very useful, if you need it, but their domain spells are kind of lacking compared to other domains
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
Unless your campaign centers on stopping Bernie the Burninator and his Pyromancer Posse, it's really not going to come up that much. And even if it did, it's half damage for one ally once a turn. It's just not that powerful.
 

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